Originally Posted by Katsmeow
The idea though is that you should only spend what you have so at the beginning of the month let's say I budget $200 to dining out and 3 weeks into the month it is used up and I want to eat out again.
I just modify the budget for dining out to, say, $250 and then play whack a mole to some other category to cause it all to balance. That extra $50 has to come from somewhere.
I do the same thing with mint each month. I have only so much I chose to spend a month in total, & I tweak each area as needed, depending on where I'm spending the most. Some categories (like travel) roll over, so that I can save money for a few months, for a nice trip. Other categories (like coffee shops), I give myself $20 & I've only spend $10 at the end of the month, I take my 'budget' down to $10, & put that $10 in savings. Next month, I bring it back up to $20, & see what I spend.
I don't feel deprived by doing this; it makes total sense to me that one month I might spend a lot more on groceries (like Nov, when I cooked Thanksgiving Dinner), & another month, I spend a lot more on eating out (like Dec, when I took my parents out for Xmas).
In each case, the other areas are tweaked to give me the money where I need to spend it.
I've found that doing this really does cut down on the fluff that I won't miss. Once, I spent $50 on fast food, & I felt so dumb about that - since then I haven't spent more than $20.